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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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    Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Saco, Maine, USA 10-12 July 2009

Halki Seminary

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    The Patriarchal Theological Seminary of Halki is located on the Turkish island known as Heyelbiada in the Bosporus straits. It was closed in 1971 by the Turkish government and is the subject of much controversy since it is the only seminary in Turkey and the position of Ecumenical Patriarch can only be filled by a Turkish citizen. Sign the petition to reopen it at

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02 August 2009


john akritas

A great poem by a great poet. Reading the extract and looking at the pictures did make me think, however, whatever happened to the spirit that produced these heroes, the spirit that existed in the Greek village and the Greek island. It's died, I suppose. Athens destroyed it all, insisting that the villages and islands were backward and needed to 'modernise'. A pity. Not that I'm trying to make out the city hasn't got me too. I caught a little mouse in a trap tonight and disposing of it nearly made me sick. I wouldn't have survived five minutes in the conditions Elytis describes.

Your earlier post on Elytis

in which he explains his poetics and the significance of the Greek light is well worth reading again, particularly for those of us who have the misfortune to live in dreadful northern European climes (London, in my case), where 'summers' consist of rain, cold and grey skies.


Perhaps heroes are sometimes produced by events that swirl around them rather than the places they emanate from.

It's hard to say how any of us will perform under such conditions until we find ourselves confronted by them.

I personally think Elytis was one of the great poets of the 20th century.

Gus Ganoudis

I would appreciate if you could e-mail any well regarded books and articles on the Greek resistance during WW II, collaborators, famous Greek spies, the destruction of the Gorgopotamos Bridge and the Greek War with the Italians 1940-41. I have read "Inside Hitlers Greece", "The Struggle for Greece 1941-1949", and "After the War was Over". I am looking for stories and incidents that would really have an impact on the reader. I appreciate your effort and do not mean to inconvenience you.

Nick Theodoropoulos

Check out a book titled GREECE 1940-1941 EYEWITNESSED by authors C.N Hadjipatera and M.S Fafalios. The book is a collection of letters and diary entries by Greek soldiers during WW2 and the Mussolini resistance. I found it gripping.


LOOKING FOR A QUOTE. A Chinese poet named Bei Ling gave me a sentence that was supposed to be a verse of Odysseas Elytis. Birds flying high reduce the burden on our sould, or something like that. Bei Ling has written a biography of Liu Xiaobo, the winner of this year's Nobel Peace prize, and I have translated it into German. Bei Ling wants this quote from Elytis to appear on the jacket of the book, as a motto, perhaps. So can you think of any soul-burden-reducing bird or birds high up in the sky in some poem by Elytis? Thanks for your help! MW

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  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy


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